Wednesday, 1 November 2017

2017 St Leger Final Runner by Runner


BLACK EYED PEPPA 
No heat win but strong stayer is ideally drawn to sneak run for big late bid, live outsider.
12-1
JAYTEE YANKEE 
Smart semi winner can clock faster & real claims if command rails to turn first, chance!
10-3
CLONBRIEN HERO 
Held in semi but retains claims now if return to best break & win early battle to the bend.
9-4
BALLYBOUGH DAD 
Very consistent in Leger & early pacer is capable of leading. Must do for win, respected.
10-1
SONIC 
Brilliant in fastest semi win, strong runner is worthy fav who can convert if find clear run.
2-1
DROOPYS CABAYE 
Smart early pacer in fine form. Lead on the outside & realistic claims if lead off 2nd bend.
7-2


BLACK EYED PEPPA: Michael O’Donovan’s strong stayer has made a hugely pleasing graduation to Open race company in this event and is arguably as well drawn as any in the final line-up. Without a heat win, his passage to the final has been more a plot than a stampede when coming from off the pace to fill qualifying positions. Not expected to match the early pacers to the first bend, he will make his challenge from halfway and attempt to mow down tiring leaders. He will need to sneak a rails run and keep close off the second bend and will need to stay in front of favourite Sonic to the back-straight. It will require a career best to deliver a shock victory at 12/1.

JAYTEE YANKEE: Seeking back to back St leger victories, trainer Paul Hennessy has charmed a game passage to the final from his 2017 Champion Stakes hero as the confirmed railer produced brilliant battling performances to progress from less than ideal draws in the early rounds. Rewarded with Trap 1 in the semi-finals, he duly converted from a more suitable draw when repelling fast early paced runners to the first bend and a repeat can bring plausible win claims now. Expected to outpace Black Eyed Peppa in the early strides, he can dictate the race to the back-straight with an adept break and in doing so, complicate matters for all in behind. Stubborn when on the bunny, he will prove difficult to pass if leading at 10/3.

CLONBRIEN HERO (m): Limerick owned and the first of three Graham Holland finalists, the 2017 Produce Stakes winner is capable of blistering runs as he produced when fastest of the event in his 29.49 opening night win. Suffering his first defeat in the semi-final he has form to reverse with Jaytee Yankee now but although appearing to tire as the event has progressed, he simply can not be overlooked as one of the most talented in the sport. It will require a return to his best breaking form and he will need to lead his fellow early pacers to the first bend but he remains a big player at 9/4.

BALLYBOUGH DAD (w): Also suffering his first defeat of the competition at the paws of Jaytee Yankee last week, Murt Leahy’s hugely consistent early pacer has been near paw perfect in his march to the final. Only beaten by one length then, his win chances are obvious and he is another of the early pacers who will prove difficult to pass if winning the crucial battle for early supremacy. Trap 4 will be little inconvenience to the wide seed who contests his second classic final of the season having also reached the Produce Stakes decider at Clonmel and none represent more value in the market at very generous odds of 10/1.

SONIC (w): Second of Graham Holland’s finalists, the twice Derby third needs little introduction as one of the most talented runners of his generation. Capable of blistering runs, he is a superbly strong runner at the 550 yard trip and an elusive classic victory would punctuate his wonderful career most appropriately. Tardy breaks saw him return just one heat win in a moderate opening to his campaign by his own very high standards but following his sublime semi-final win, his campaign appears to have been timed to perfection. Stalking kennel companion Droopys Cabaye before powering to a three length win in a fast 29.64, the timing of that improved effort appears ominous now. He will need a clear run but if securing that, it would be very difficult for any to contain this true racing star at 2/1.

DROOPYS CABAYE (w): Bursting onto the Open race scene in the summer at Shelbourne Park, this third finalist for Graham Holland was an extremely unlucky Derby quarter-final eliminee but he has now earned a shot at classic redemption following yet another string of quality performances. Developing a more consistent profile as he matures, the slick early pacer has led to the first bend in his last three St Leger heats and if doing so again, is capable of a bold bid for glory. As with his fellow early pacers now, he can put all to the sword if leading while likely to cause traffic problems in behind. He will need to get further clear of Sonic than he managed to halfway last week but his is a straight forward claim; break well and try to cling on. A proper contender at 7/2.

**All prices quoted are from Boylesports

The verdict!

From the outset, the 2017 Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger has been hugely competitive and has only tightened on form with each passing round. Our final now houses four runners with early pace who will seek a lead in the opening exchanges to be seen to best effect while two who will produce their best running from halfway.

Falling into the latter category is favourite Sonic but a true superstar of the sport, he is also capable of a smart start which he produced in a brilliant semi-final victory and with these abilities combined he truly merits his place at the head of the market.

From Trap 5, he is again likely to cede early advantage to Droopys Cabaye on his outer but that could prove ideal if avoiding any bumps at the bend as that kennelmate would be a perfect target for Sonic with his inevitable back-straight charge. Possessing ever increasing track craft, he almost invariably finds a passage at the bends and on the back of a brilliant semi-final win, he is difficult to adamantly oppose.

However, there are plausible threats to Sonic and with so much early pace in the race the biggest problem could be a line of runners in his path at the bend where possible bumping among the pacesetters could see his path blocked at a crucial point.

For four of our finalists, the path to victory is complicated by it’s very simplicity because for Jaytee Yankee, Clonbrien Hero, Ballybough Dad and Droopys Cabaye, they all must turn first to conceivably claim the St Leger title. There is little to chose between them on the run to the first bend and in that scenario you would much prefer to be on the flanks.

From Trap 2 now, Jaytee Yankee is fancied to outpace Black Eyed Peppa on his inner and he has very strong claims to repeat what he did a week ago when containing both Clonbrien Hero and Ballybough Dad to the bend where his inside pitch proved a deciding factor. With Clonbrien Hero much more likely to move towards the middle than step to his left from Trap 3 now, Yankee is well drawn!

Equally well drawn is Droopys Cabaye and the hugely likeable early pacer can dictate on the outer as chief threat Ballybough Dad may have plenty on his plate being on the right hand side of Clonbrien Hero from traps. If as expected, he turns in contention for the lead with Jaytee Yankee, the pair would serve up a rare old tussle as there seems little to separate them from the second bend to home.

A tight affair early, it may require a smash break from either Clonbrien Hero or Ballybough Dad to secure a first bend lead that they would need for victory hopes and while both are capable, complications are more likely for these early pacers than for Yankee and Cabaye.

Outsider of the field, Black Eyed Peppa is arguably drawn best of all in the final and is not totally devoid of early pace despite his slower splits. He is the only finalist who can match Sonic from the second bend to home and with the possibility of bumping in front of him at the first bend, he could possibly turn close enough to pose a late threat. He is definitely not ruled out and is one for those seeking a longer priced alternative.

Attempting to describe the race before the off, Jaytee Yankee leads the charge to the bend on the inner while Droopys Cabaye matches him stride for stride out wide. Taking a step to the right Clonbrien Hero edges right towards Ballybough Dad which affords Sonic the opportunity to contest for third place approaching the bend. Yankee and Cabaye go paw to paw along the back-straight with the inside line giving Yankee the opportunity to hit the home-straight in front. Having established himself in a clear third place with a strong back-straight challenge however, Sonic now looms large in behind the leading duo before overhauling Yankee close home. One possible scenario! 5-1-6.

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